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Section 508. Survived Year One, on to Year Two Reviewing the Process, Lessons Learned, and What to Expect. What is Section 508?. Part of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. Provides same level of access to those with disabilities as to those without. Effective June 21, 2001.

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Section 508

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section 508

Section 508

Survived Year One, on to Year Two

Reviewing the Process, Lessons Learned, and What to Expect

what is section 508
What is Section 508?
  • Part of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
  • Provides same level of access to those with disabilities as to those without.
  • Effective June 21, 2001.
  • A law with definitive legal teeth.
  • Includes development, procurement, use and maintenance of EIT HW and SW.
frequent section 508 questions
Frequent Section 508 Questions

Q. What is difference between Sections 501/504 and 508?

Q. Does Section 508 include contractors?

Q. What does the “E” stand for in EIT?

Q. If you have no disabled employees, does your procurement/system still have to be compliant?

important points to remember
Important Points to Remember
  • Only pertains to EIT procurements that people can interface with.
  • Grandfather clause.
  • EIT procurements under $2500
  • Only Federal Agencies responsible for compliance; contractors are not liable no matter what they claim, sign or agree to.
more section 508 questions
More Section 508 Questions

Q. Does additional memory for a PC have to be compliant? Why?

Q. What about a modem?

Q. What about paper or paper documents?

Q. Can you release a product that is not totally compliant and fix it later?

Q. Does annual SW maintenance agreement have to be compliant? Why?

accessibility tools at
Accessibility Tools (AT)

Q. What are the USPTO baseline AT?

Q. Why have an AT baseline?

Q. Who is responsible to ensure that the AT work with your system?

Q. Does every PC have to have AT on it?

Q. If JAWS can not read your system, does that mean it is not compliant? Why?

different areas of 508
Different Areas of 508

We will be discussing the following Section 508 areas:

  • Procurement
  • Software Development
  • Internet and Intranet

Each has its own process and checklist.

procurement dissecting the standards
ProcurementDissecting the Standards

Standards consist of three subparts.

  • Subpart B – technical standards for six categories of products.
  • Subpart C – functional performance criteria (if not covered by Subpart B).
  • Subpart D – Information and documentation requirements.
procurement processing a request
ProcurementProcessing a Request
  • Determine your functional requirements.
  • Identify only those products that meet your functional requirements.
  • Test those products for compliance.
  • Complete a Procurement Checklist for Section 508 Compliance.
  • Attach checklist with requisition.

Q Do you need to submit a 508 checklist if the product is exempt?

procurement exemptions
  • No such 508 creature as waiver or deferred.
  • Back office.

Q.When is a server not a back office exemption?

  • Fundamental alteration.

Q. Is a bar code reader exempt?

  • Commercially non-available. At time of purchase.
  • Undue burden…a real burden to process!
  • Support service and maintenance agreements.
procurement standards

Six categories of standards in Subpart B

  • Software applications and operating systems
  • Web-based information and applications
  • Telecommunication products
  • Video and multimedia products
  • Self-contained, closed products
  • Desktop and portable computers
procurement standards1
  • When selecting the appropriate category, remember that more than one category can apply and not all standards are applicable.
  • How many categories are applicable for:
    • PC or laptop?
    • Desktop printer?
    • High speed printer?
  • Always check Subpart D.
procurement evaluating
  • Use checklist in Instructions for evaluating.
  • Never send vendor first 3 pages of Instructions.
  • There are normally two pages per category in the Instructions. First page is the standards in plain English. Second page is a checklist for evaluating the standards.
  • Have vendor complete checklist. Do not accept a yes or meet standard explanation. Need detailed answer.
  • Q. Why?
procurement multi source selection
ProcurementMulti Source Selection
  • Determine which product meets most standards at time of purchase.
  • Must procure the product that best meets your function specifications and is the most compliant.
  • Commercially non-available requirements.
procurement sole source selection
ProcurementSole Source Selection
  • Basis for sole source determination.
  • Impact of sole source on Section 508 selection.
  • Product vs. vendor sole source.
procurement selection questions
ProcurementSelection Questions

Q. Does an 8A business have priority on an IT procurement?

Q. Should you test a product that the vendor claims is compliant? Why?

Q. Should you test a product that the vendor certifies is compliant? Why?

Q. Should you buy a product that is the most 508 compliant, but does not meet your functional requirements?

procurement signatures
Procurement Signatures
  • Office of Procurement will only process a procurement with a completed checklist that include signatures/initials.
  • Requisitioner must sign checklist to certify the accuracy and completeness of the data. This is important since inaccurate data can lead to a lawsuit. NOTE: the requisitioner is the person paying for the procurement.
  • EIT Coordinator must initial checklist to show that it has been reviewed.
procurement more questions

Q. Who is your EIT Coordinator?

Q. Who initials your checklist if your EIT Coordinator is not on campus?

Q. Which has priority: 508 compliance or functional specifications?

Q. Are you responsible for ensuring that the USPTO AT work with your product?

Q. Are the USPTO AT a good way to test your product for compliance? If so, how?

internet and intranet
Internet and Intranet
  • DoC requires a “spirit of the law” interpretation for web pages. All new pages must be compliant.
  • Effective October 1, there will be a new process/checklist for posting items on USPTO web sites. It will require the same level of accountability and certification as for procurements and SW development.
internet and intranet creating documents
Internet and IntranetCreatingDocuments
  • Read carefully and make sure you understand pp 6-9 in the Instructions.
  • Best approach is to develop document in HTML and use text and links.
  • Problem areas include documents in PDF and that have graphics, data tables, frames, scripts, drop down boxes, forms, cascading style sheets, and applets.
internet and intranet assistance
Internet and IntranetAssistance
  • The Web Services Division has a template that helps in developing pages for the web. To use the template:
    • CIO intranet home page
    • Web Services Division
    • Standards and Guideline Page
    • Template for internet and intranet
  • E-mail: Web group
and if you do violate the law
…and if you do violate the law
  • Employees and customers can sue the USPTO for noncompliant products. Remember that the requisitioner certified for the USPTO that the product was compliant.
  • Non-compliant web-based documents will be pulled from the USPTO internet and intranet.
  • So far, all complaints have been quickly and quietly resolved. It will not bode well to be the first Government agency to have a 508 lawsuit and become the poster child for violating the law.
  • It is possible that a judge can put an injunction on the use of a non-compliant system.
what s next
What’s Next
  • Within a year or so, 508 will be a way of life and most products will be totally compliant and SW development will be second nature.
  • In November 2002, all IT procurements must be 508 compliant. A new process and checklist are being developed to cover the different types of procurements.
  • Web Services is starting to inventory existing pages to evaluate for 508 compliance. As they identify pages, the web author is responsible for ensuring the page is compliant.
where to find stuff
Where to Find Stuff
  • Joyce Miller, USPTO EIT Coordinator, 571-272-5422 and
  • Tech notes:
    • CIO intranet home page
    • Key documents
    • Technical Standards and Guidelines
    • Requirement Management Related Tech Notes
where to find more stuff
Where to Find More Stuff
  • CIO intranet home page

Overall Section 508 information, checklist and links:

  • Useful links
  • USPTO EIT Accessibility Program